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Evaluating Soft Tissue Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents

whiplash injuryEven low-impact car accidents can result in soft tissue injuries, which are caused by a sudden blow or jolt to the joints and connective tissues. Trauma to the body’s soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments and tendons, can give rise to bruising, inflammation, soreness, stiffness and immobility. Though they may not be life-threatening in nature, soft tissue injuries can cause debilitating pain and negatively impact many facets of your life and health, reducing your ability to work or to perform normal, daily activities.

Contusions, sprains, whiplash and other soft tissue injuries are commonly cited in personal injury claims stemming from auto accidents, with the ultimate goal being a settlement or jury award.

Unlike “hard” injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, burns, or herniated discs, soft tissue injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents may be harder to diagnose and evaluate objectively. For this reason, it’s crucial to retain a car accident lawyer who can prove through medical records and expert testimony the true value of your injuries, pain, suffering and financial losses.

Examples of soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries, or musculoskeletal joint injuries, happen when the ligaments, tendons or muscles are strained or jolted during a side, frontal or rear impact, causing moderate to extreme hyperextension or flexion.

After any kind of vehicle crash, victims should be assessed for the following types of soft tissue injuries:

  • Contusions: A type of deep bruising commonly sustained in auto accidents. A contusion can be caused by airbags, seatbelts or impact with a steering wheel or dash, rupturing blood vessels and damaging muscle fibers. Symptoms include localized pain, swelling, bluish discoloration and limited mobility in the area. Immobilization with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is recommended for at least 24-48 hours, depending on the location and severity of the muscle contusion.
  • Sprains: When joint ligaments are overextended, twisted or torn, this type of injury is called a sprain. Common sprain symptoms include pain, swelling in the area, muscle tenderness/spasms and weakness. Treatment modalities and length will hinge on whether the ligament was partially or fully torn.
  • Whiplash: One of the most common types of car accident injuries, whiplash is a type of neck strain or injury caused by hyperflexion of the lower cervical spine, which is forced out of its normal range of motion. Whiplash is normally associated with rear-end collisions and symptoms may not appear for hours or days after the accident. Early symptoms include neck stiffness, pain, headaches, dizziness, tingling in the arms and fatigue. Whiplash can also cause blurred vision, memory problems and other cognitive impairments. Treatment can last for many months and may entail a cervical neck brace, physical therapy and prescription muscle relaxants.

Evaluating injuries in a car accident claim

Always seek medical attention after any kind of auto collision, even if your injuries seem minor. Medical records, diagnostic tests, and physician reports from credible health care professionals are important for proving the harm suffered, and will also help establish how much your claim is worth.

In motor vehicle accidents caused by a negligent driver, your attorney will be tasked with demonstrating how your soft tissue injuries have impacted your life and earning ability during the recovery process.

Factors that will help determine the value of your case include:

  • Medical expenses – past and future
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Repair costs of damaged property
  • Loss of earnings caused by accident-related injuries
  • Negative impacts on your daily life
  • If the injuries resulted in partial or permanent disability
  • The plaintiff’s credibility (no prior injury claims)
  • Quality of expert testimony

Consult with Ellis Law personal injury lawyers

If your soft tissue injuries and related losses are well-supported by medical records and other solid evidence procured by your attorney, you stand a good chance of recovering fair compensation.

Here at Ellis Law Corporation, our legal team excels at negotiating high value settlements for soft tissue injuries.

To explore your legal options with a skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer free of charge, please call 1-800-INJURED.

Additional “Vehicle Accident Soft Tissue Injury” Resources:

  1. OrthoInfo, Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00111
  2. MedicineNet, Whiplash Injury Facts http://www.medicinenet.com/whiplash/article.htm
  3. EMedicine, Contusion Treatment and Management http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/88153-treatment